The need for a new Colorado law would have confounded parents in the 1970s. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
The Colorado Legislature is currently debating The Reasonable Independence For Children Act, a bill that would, to many 1970s-era parents, read like a “Children Should Breathe Air” Act—one so obvious it hardly would seem necessary. The bill, created in response to the fact that 82% of allegations of parental neglect in Colorado are deemed unsubstantiated, specifies that it is not neglect for “reasonable and prudent parents” to let kids who are mature enough walk or bike to school, travel to nearby parks or stores, or play outside by themselves.
That said, we have all heard enough tragic stories to know that, although uncommon, bad acts happen so parents are still obligated to weigh the need for a kid to develop independence with the need to keep him safe. Now grab mommy a Tab and go play outside.